Published: September 21, 2018

    The history of science can at times read like a list of bearded old men, but there have been many incredible and inspiring women who have changed our understanding of the world around us. Here are just a few of the famous female scientists that you really should know about.



    • 2. Amazing women's in science history you really should know about Amazing women's in science history you really should know about The history of science can at times read like a list of bearded old men, but there have been many incredible and inspiring women who have changed our understanding of the world around us. Here are just a few of the famous female scientists that you really should know about.
    • 3. Caroline Herschel Caroline Herschel Caroline Lucretia Herschel was a German astronomer, whose most significant contributions to astronomy were the discoveries of several comets, including the periodic comet 35P/Herschel–Rigollet, which bears her name. She was the younger sister of astronomer William Herschel, with whom she worked throughout her career.
    • 4. Caroline Herschel Caroline Herschel She was the first woman to be awarded a Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society (1828), and to be named an Honorary Member of the Royal Astronomical Society (1835, with Mary Somerville). She was also named an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy (1838).
    • 5. Sophie Germain Sophie Germain Marie-Sophie Germain was a French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher. Despite initial opposition from her parents and the difficulties presented by society, she gained education from books in her father's library including ones by Leonhard Euler and from correspondence with famous mathematicians such as Lagrange, Legendre, and Gauss.
    • 6. Sophie Germain Sophie Germain One of the pioneers of elasticity theory, she won the grand prize from the Paris Academy of Sciences for her essay on the subject. Her work on Fermat's Last Theorem provided a foundation for mathematicians exploring the subject for hundreds of years after.
    • 7. Mary Somerville Mary Somerville Mary Somerville was a Scottish science writer and polymath. She studied mathematics and astronomy, and was nominated to be jointly the first female member of the Royal Astronomical Society at the same time as Caroline Herschel. When John Stuart Mill, the philosopher, and economist, organized a massive petition to Parliament to give women the right to vote, he had Somerville put her signature first on the petition.
    • 8. Mary Anning Mary Anning Mary Anning was an English fossil collector, dealer, and paleontologist who became known around the world for important finds she made in Jurassic marine fossil beds in the cliffs along. Her findings contributed to important changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth.
    • 9. Ada Lovelace Ada Lovelace She was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's proposed mechanical general- purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She was the first to recognize that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. As a result, she is sometimes regarded as the first to recognize the full potential of a "computing machine" and the first computer programmer.
    • 10. Maria Mitchell Maria Mitchell Maria Mitchell was an American astronomer, who is 1847 by using a telescope, discovered a comet, which as a result became known as "Miss Mitchell's Comet." She won a gold medal prize for her discovery, which was presented to her by King Frederick VI of Denmark. Mitchell was the first American woman to work as a professional astronomer.
    • 11. Marie Curie Marie Curie Marie Curie was a physicist and chemist and a pioneer in the study of radiation. She and her husband, Pierre, discovered the elements polonium and radium. Together, they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903, and she received another one, for Chemistry, in 1911. Her work with radioactive materials doomed her, however. She died of a blood disease in 1934.
    • 12. Lise Meitner Lise Meitner Lise Meitner was an Austrian-Swedish physicist who worked on radioactivity and nuclear physics. Meitner and Otto Hahn led the small group of scientists who first discovered nuclear fission of uranium when it absorbed an extra neutron; the results were published in early 1939.
    • 13. Lise Meitner Lise Meitner Meitner spent most of her scientific career in Berlin, Germany, where she was a physics professor and a department head at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute; she was the first woman to become a full professor of physics in Germany. She lost these positions in the 1930s because of the anti-Jewish Nuremberg Laws of Nazi Germany. Meitner received many awards and honors late in her life.Meit ner has received a flurry of posthumous honors, including naming chemical element 109 meitnerium in 1992.
    • 14. Barbara McClintock Barbara McClintock Barbara McClintock was an American scientist and cytogeneticist who was awarded the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. McClintock received her Ph.D. in botany from Cornell University in 1927. There she started her career as the leader in the development of maize cytogenetics, the focus of her research for the rest of her life.
    • 15. Barbara McClintock Barbara McClintock From the late 1920s, McClintock studied chromosomes and how they change during reproduction in maize. One of those ideas was the notion of genetic recombination by crossing-over during meiosis a mechanism by which chromosomes exchange information. She produced the first genetic map for maize, linking regions of the chromosome to physical traits. She was recognized as among the best in the field, awarded prestigious fellowships, and elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1944.
    • 16. Grace Hopper Grace Hopper She was an American computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I the computer, she was a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first compiler related tools. She popularized the idea of machine- independent programming languages, which led to the development of COBOL, an early high-level programming language still in use today.
    • 17. Grace Hopper Grace Hopper During her lifetime, Hopper was awarded 40 honorary degrees from universities across the world. A college at Yale University was renamed in her honor. In 1991, she received the National Medal of Technology. On November 22, 2016, she was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
    • 18. Rachel Carson Rachel Carson She was an American marine biologist, author, and conservationist whose book Silent Spring and other writings are credited with advancing the global environmental movement. Carson began her career as an aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, and became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s. Her widely praised 1951 bestseller The Sea Around Us won her a U.S. National Book Award, recognition as a gifted writer, and financial security.
    • 19. Dorothy Hodgkin Dorothy Hodgkin Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin was a British chemist who developed protein crystallography, for which she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964. She is regarded as one of the pioneer scientists in the field of X-ray crystallography studies of biomolecules, which became an essential tool in the field of structural biology.
    • 20. Dorothy Hodgkin Dorothy Hodgkin She advanced the technique of X-ray crystallography, a method used to determine the three-dimensional structures of crystals. Among her most influential discoveries is the confirmation of the structure of penicillin as previously surmised by Edward Abraham and Ernst Boris Chain, and the structure of vitamin B12, for which she became the third woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 1969, after 35 years of work, Hodgkin was able to decipher the structure of insulin.
    • 21. Rosalind Franklin Rosalind Franklin Rosalind Franklin was an English chemist and X-ray crystallographer who made contributions to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), viruses, coal, and graphite. Although her works on coal and viruses were appreciated in her lifetime, her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA were largely recognized posthumously.
    • 22. Rosalind Franklin Rosalind Franklin Rosalind Franklin was an English chemist and X-ray James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. Watson suggested that Franklin would have ideally been awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Wilkins, but the Nobel Committee does not make posthumous nominations. After finishing her work on DNA, Franklin led pioneering work at Birkbeck on the molecular structures of viruses. Her team member Aaron Klug continued her research, winning the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1982.
    • 23. Jocelyn Bell Burnell Jocelyn Bell Burnell She is an astrophysicist from Northern Ireland who, as a postgraduate student, co- discovered the first radio pulsars in 1967. She was credited with "one of the most significant scientific achievements of the 20th century". The discovery was recognised by the award of the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics.
    • 24. Jocelyn Bell Burnell Jocelyn Bell Burnell Bell served as president of the Royal Astronomical Society from 2002 to 2004, as president of the Institute of Physics from October 2008 until October 2010, and as interim president of the Institute following the death of her successor, Marshall Stoneham, in early 2011.
    • 25. Elizabeth Blackburn Elizabeth Blackburn Elizabeth Helen Blackburn is an Australian- American Nobel laureate who is the former President of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Previously she was a biological researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who studied the telomere, a structure at the end of chromosomes that protects the chromosome.
    • 26. Elizabeth Blackburn Elizabeth Blackburn Blackburn co-discovered telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes the telomere. For this work, she was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, sharing it with Carol W. Greider and Jack W. Szostak, becoming the only Tasmanian-born Nobel laureate. She also worked in medical ethics and was controversially dismissed from the Bush Administration's President's Council on Bioethics.
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